The non-governmental associations estimate that over 1,300 endangered species had been traded in the last five years.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service listed African lions as endangered after last year a Minnesota dentist killed the animal as a trophy.
However, hunters, zoos, breeders, and circuses are exceptions to the rule, and they can get permits to trade endangered animals with the sole condition they prove the transaction will enhance the survival of the species.
The requirement is often fulfilled by making a financial contribution to charity, which adds up to a few thousand dollars. The vast majority of endangered species permits were based on cash payments.
Animal-rights activists reacted violently to the practice and declared it exploitative, unfair and arbitrary.
For example, a safari park operator from South Carolina donated $10,000 to charity in order to get the permit to transfer 18 tigers to Mexico where they will participate in a movie shooting worth millions of dollars.
The Fish & Wildlife Species officials declared that very few permits are issued for the benefit of the species, and most applicants use a payment method to obtain the approvals they need.
Animal-rights activists say that charity pledges are often unreliable and do not offer the promised solutions. Moreover, some of them are located overseas, and it is difficult to test their legitimacy and their activities.
Another case is one of the two elephants that were allowed to go on a Canadian circus tour which involved a $15,000 worth charity pledge and a $50,000 extra gain from patrons. Until now, the entertainment company made efforts to comply. However, it had contributed to only half of the amounts.
The situation seems to be the same with the 18 tigers that are sent to the Mexico movie place. The film plot involves children who live on a deserted island inhabited by tigers. The person who filed the requests argues that the $10,000 pledge will be enhanced by the media coverage brought by the future success of the movie, which will change the public perception of the animals.
Penguins were not excluded from the business. Ten Carolina penguins were sold to a Miami Seaquarium, where they will be exhibited in a new scene named “Penguin Island”.
The Seaquarium has more than 600,000 visitors each year and charges $99 for a single family. The transaction involved a $1,000 annual pledge, an amount completely disproportionate when compared with the profits.
Activists seem to be correct in their outrage towards this type of animal trading business that brings no benefits to the endangered species conservation, and it simply supports private profits.
Image Source: Wikipedia